Things absolutely appreciate changed round these substances. The College of Kentucky football program finds itself within the extraordinary territory of now not upright vying for a sixth straight bowl appearance, but being anticipated to discover, and for the fourth straight one year, rep one.
And why now not? Designate Stoops has proved that a exact program might well possibly even be maintained in Lexington, even with out the specter of a most modern passing assault; upright take into consideration what the Wildcats might well possibly well well appreciate been able to with a forward cross the final couple of seasons. They seem to appreciate that in their arsenal, now, and anticipation for the 2021 season has heightened in response.
That excitement isn’t misplaced. Here’s why (Guarantee now not to miss our accompanying story having a admire on the UK season from a pessimist’s standpoint).
1. Will Levis is a well-known person
OK, “might well possibly well well very effectively be a well-known person” is possibly extra good-looking out, as far as the football enviornment is fervent. It’s absolutely much less hyperbolic, pondering that, thus far in his three faculty seasons, the Penn Issue transfer has thrown 102 passes for 644 yards and three touchdowns (while speeding 133 occasions for 473 yards and 6 TDs). Far off from the enviornment, however, Will Levis has bloomed into something shut to a household name thanks to his banana-drinking antics and frequent willingness to now not desire himself too severely on digital camera. It speaks to his self perception as an person, a trait that must always positively carry over to the enviornment. Levis might well possibly well well unprejudiced now not be a proven “well-known person” in some senses of the notice, yet, but his possession of being a “face” off the enviornment for Kentucky is a actual signal concerning his drive to be one on it.
There are questions down the depth chart, notably within the huge receiver room, but it’s complex to witness at UK’s high objects on offense and never feel giddy about the probabilities. Wan’Dale Robinson, a transfer from Nebraska who first and valuable dedicated to UK, is, on paper, the disclose receiver that’s been in a Kentucky uniform under Stoops. Chris Rodriguez has the likelihood to appreciate a Benny Snell-variety junior one year, excluding in an educated-oriented offense that must always allow for the displaying of his versatile skill pickle. Josh Ali has been a exact contributor despite having his alternatives runt by UK’s old offense, and might well possibly well well very effectively be in a pickle to discover away. There’s huge sport ride at tight kill (“neat senior” Justin Rigg) alongside with the athletic promise of a man love Izayah Cummings (who moved to the pickle from receiver).
3. Extensive Blue Wall
It’s good-looking out to wonder if a unit that became requested most effective to hurry block 90 percent of the time the final couple of seasons will most seemingly be in a pickle to smoothly drift between ways this season, however the talent stage is as excessive because it’s ever been. Dare Rosenthal, a starter at LSU, shores up left address, alleviating some thunder at that pickle, while returning First Crew All-American Darian Kinnard anchors the good-looking out. Luke Fortner, yet every other “neat senior,” has taken effectively to the center position left within the abet of by Drake Jackson. This community must always be in a pickle to crawl eight or nine deep with out too many hiccups.
4. Defensive backs
UK’s 16 interceptions final season were tied with four other colleges for the third most in faculty football. It’s now not liable to copy that feat (six of these came in a single sport, an indicator both of how random turnovers might well possibly even be or how risky Mississippi Issue became within the early going), but that won’t be a reflection of its play within the secondary, the defensive community most stocked with seasoned gamers who’ve strung together quite loads of actual seasons. Lexington product Davonte Robinson says he feels extra love himself, which if upright bodes effectively for UK’s skill to drop an additional defensive abet into down protection to alleviate depth components within the linebacking corps. Yusuf Corker is able to inserting together an All-SEC extra or much less season at security, and the unit boasts two extra returning starters in Ty Ajian and Cedric Dort.
Three “guarantee” games — Louisiana Monroe (Sept. 4), Chattanooga (Sept. 18) and New Mexico Issue (Nov. 20) — are on the agenda, making UK’s path to bowl eligibility as easy because it’s been in most seasons under Stoops; sweeping these games draw all you’ll need discover is beat Vanderbilt (infrequently the SEC’s punching ranking) and two other teams for your agenda to place the six-rep minimal. Kentucky, of direction, is seeking bigger than six, and its slate is favorable; three of what must always be its four toughest opponents (Missouri, Florida and LSU) are at dwelling. The Cats arguably must always be liked in opposition to every other SEC team they play this season excluding Georgia. They’ll shut at Louisville, whom they’ve overwhelmed by a combined gather of 101-23 within the final two conferences. If that doesn’t discover you feeling optimistic about the likelihood for a warmth-climate bowl crawl this cool climate, nothing will.
UK season opener
Louisiana Monroe at Kentucky
When: Noon Saturday
TV: SEC Community